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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

New Video Appears To Show Missile Hitting Plane; U.S. Officials Believe Iran Shot Down Boeing 737; Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) Discusses About The U.S., Canada And U.K. Claim That Iran Shot Down Boeing 737; House Votes To Limit Trump's Authority To Take Further Military Action Against Iran; Pelosi Says She'll Send Impeachment Articles "Soon"; New Video Appears To Show Missile Hitting Plane; Iran Disputes It Shot Down Ukrainian Airliner; Pelosi Says She'll Send Impeachment Articles "Soon"; Trump: Soleimani Was "Seriously" Looking at U.S. Embassies and Not Just Baghdad; Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) is Interviewed About Trump Saying Soleimani Seriously Looking at U.S. Embassies And Top Republican Claims Dems "In Love with Terrorists"; Prince Harry Defied the Queen Announcing Step Back from Family. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 9, 2020 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... going to blow up. This is a total catastrophe and you might as well get out now because you're just wasting time and lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: I suspect he feels the same today even as he's taking steps that dramatically escalate tensions in the region. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, U.S. officials believe Iran shot down a passenger plane killing 176 people and they are not alone in believing this tonight. How does this happen?

Plus, the President making a mysterious claim about General Soleimani 'blowing up our embassy', what was he talking about? Well, we found out. We have new information tonight.

And a top Republican says Democrats love terrorists. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, shot down. U.S. officials believe that Iran shot down the Ukrainian jet at takeoff from the Tehran International Airport.

According to U.S. officials, two Russian-made missiles took down the Ukrainian jet and we are told that Iranian radar had locked on to that Ukrainian commercial jetliner just before it was shot down. That's all the evidence that U.S. Intelligence has been accumulating at this time.

The outcome is that 176 innocent people were slaughtered. And you are looking at brand new video, which appears to show the missile hitting the jet. You can see a bright light heading towards what we believe is that Boeing 737, then that flash of light at impact.

The person who captured this moment, according to The New York Times as they started filming after hearing 'some sort of shot'. Again, we have been told there were two intelligence sources saying two Russian- made surface-to-air missiles involved.

CNN cannot verify the authenticity of this video. British and Canadian Prime Ministers both of whom lost citizens on that Ukrainian airline's flight also say they have intelligence showing the plane was shot down by Iran using surface-to-air missiles. Now, Iran denies that it did this. Initially claimed, it was mechanical error. Something President Trump today dismissed out of hand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Some people say it was mechanical. I personally don't think that's even a question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Again, 176 innocent people were killed by what appears to be a trigger happy Iranian. Men, women and children from across the world died in those horrific moments. Now in body bags on the ground people from Iran, Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan, Germany and the United Kingdom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I live for her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) ...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Canada suffered a huge loss. There were 63 Canadians onboard that doomed plane and tonight Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he too has intelligence pointing the finger at Iran.

Though when Trudeau was asked, he would not say if he also blames the United States for killing an Iranian General and sparking the escalating conflict.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that the United States is at least partially responsible for this tragedy?

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: I think it is too soon to be drawing conclusions or assigning blame or responsibility in whatever proportions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: In whatever proportions. Refusing to exonerate. This plane coming down as a terrifying development, 176 innocent people were killed. Four hours after Iran launched missiles at bases housing U.S. soldiers all the way in Iraq.

This plane was shot down in the middle of Iran at the nation's biggest commercial airport. How could this have happened?

Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT live in Washington. And Jim, what are you learning tonight?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: I've flown out of that airport more than a dozen times. It's a major international airport.

Listen, this is of course a horrible human tragedy but also appears to be just an egregious error by the Iranian military. U.S. Intelligence believes an Iranian military that was on alert for possible U.S. retaliation for those missile strikes some four hours before this plane was taken down, saw this plane, thought it was a missile and shot it down.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUDEAU: We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence, the evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO(voice over): The Prime Minister of Canada echoing what a U.S. official familiar with the intelligence tells CNN that the Boeing 737 was shot down by Russian-made surface-to-air missiles. Multiple U.S. officials tell CNN the theory is that Iran shot the plane down by mistake. This is based on U.S. intelligence collected from satellite and radar data.

New video obtained by CNN seems to show a missile strike as a fast moving projectile flies across the sky before striking another object.

[19:05:03]

Though CNN has not verified the authenticity of the video.

The Ukrainian International Airlines flight bound for Kiev, fell a mere minutes after taking off from the Iranian capital, Tehran. It was 6:15 am local time.

Just four hours earlier, Iran had launched missile strikes on U.S. troops in Iraq. And with tensions between the two nations heightened to such a degree, Iran may have made a deadly mistake.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Iranian air defense forces are obviously on very high alert right now. That heightened alert may have made people misread what they were seeing on their radar scopes. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO(voice over): But why this plane? There were 27 other flights either taking off from or landing at the Tehran Airport in the time between the two incidents, according to flight radar 24. Though before this Kiev-bound flight took off, no planes had taken off from the airport for more than 20 minutes.

The Head of the Iranian Civil Aviation Authority told CNN he does not believe a missile strike is to blame based on the flight data, which he says shows the plane attempted to return to the airport, adding it would have simply falling from the sky immediately if a missile had caused the crash. The debris on the ground charred and still smoldering will offer investigators other clues as to what happened.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: We're learning tonight that Iran has invited an official from the NTSB to join in this investigation in Iran. And that's important, Erin, if that invitation is accepted, because if it was a closed investigation run purely by Iran, they can essentially make up whatever conclusion they want. But if you have these Ukrainian officials involved as they are, someone from the NTSB, it means Iran may or likely have to acknowledge what happened here.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jim Sciutto. And I want to go OUTFRONT now to Independent Congressman Justin Amash. He left the Republican Party in July.

Congressman, I wanted to start by asking you about this. Iranian officials are trying to say that they didn't do this. Their missile did not take down that Ukrainian passenger plane despite intelligence services from the U.K. and Canada concluding that and the United States officials also saying they have all of this information indicating that. What do you think possibly happened here?

REP. JUSTIN AMASH, (I-MI): Well, I suspect U.S. officials and Canadian officials and other officials are correct on this. And it's an unimaginable tragedy. And my prayers go out to the families and my condolences go out to them.

BURNETT: I wanted to play again for you, Congressman Amash, the exchange that the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had with a reporter today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that the United States is at least partially responsible for this tragedy?

TRUDEAU: I think it is too soon to be drawing conclusions or assigning blame or responsibility in whatever proportions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: What do you make of that? AMASH: Well, I don't think it's a good idea to assign blame like this

to say it's on the United States right now or anyone else without knowing the full facts. Right now investigators think that it was Iran that shot it down and I think we'll have to leave it there and find out what more they have to say.

BURNETT: Do you think that there should be any repercussions to Iran?

AMASH: Well, we'll have to go through this investigation and find out what happened. And, of course, I think that the Iranians will have a lot to answer for if, in fact, they shut down a passenger airline.

BURNETT: So this all, of course, started with President Trump's decision to strike Iran's top General, General Soleimani, as he was going to the airport in Baghdad. You just voted with most of the Democrats and three Republicans, Congressman, including loyal Trump supporter, Matt Gaetz, to limit President Trump's ability or any President's ability to use military action.

So in this case, it was to limit the President's ability to use military action against Iran without first getting congressional approval. Do you believe that Trump abused his power in the strike that killed General Soleimani?

AMASH: Based on the information I have from the classified briefing I attended, I do you think so. Every military action that is non- defensive has to have congressional authorization under our Constitution. So we have a 2001 authorization, for example, to go after the 9/11 perpetrators. We have a 2002 authorization to go after Saddam Hussein's regime.

But there's no authorization that is pertinent to this particular circumstance. So the only way the President can act is defensively. So there has to be eminence and if there's no eminence, then it's not authorized.

BURNETT: So just to be clear, in the briefing that you received, you're using some crucial words here, eminence is one of them, right? You did not receive satisfactory intelligence in your briefing that at whatever attack was imminent and thus justify presidential action without congressional approval.

[19:10:10]

AMASH: No, I didn't. I didn't receive any more in the briefing than the kinds of things we hear on TV. So if officials have been talking to the press, we heard the same kinds of things in the briefing. And when members asked for more information, there was a real reluctance to provide information.

And in fact, we had members who asked, well, can we read this information somewhere and they weren't even sure that we'd have the authority to read the information. Maybe some of the members of Congress like the Gang of Eight, but not everyone.

BURNETT: So we're still waiting tonight for Speaker Pelosi to send over the impeachment articles to the Senate. We anticipate this could literally happen at any point. She did say today that it will be soon. Do you think that it's time, Congressman Amash?

AMASH: Well, I think that it's been appropriate to wait during the break. There was no congressional action happening over Christmas and over the New Year, so that was appropriate. I think it's appropriate in the near future to send them over.

I mean at some point, there's action that happens in the House and that action has to be transmitted to the Senate. But I'll leave it to the Speaker to make that decision. I don't think this is going to go on for a very long period of time, but I imagine she wants to see what more she can get out of this in negotiation.

And even though there's a lot of talk from the Senate that nothing is happening and we're not getting anything on the House side. I'm not sure that's really the case. I think the Senators have given a little bit. They've admitted that we may have witnesses later on, whereas before, they were talking about no witnesses at all. So I think they are getting something out of this negotiation.

BURNETT: So you're in a position here, obviously, the extensive experience as a lawyer and a litigator. There have been suggestions from Democrats of you serving as an impeachment manager, that you would be one of the people charged with that crucial position of making the case for those articles to the Senate. Now that we're there, something that is imminent is the naming of managers. Is that something that you would want to do?

AMASH: It's something that I've told my Democratic colleagues who have asked me that I'd be happy to talk to the Speaker about. But I haven't had that discussion, if the speaker wants to have that discussion, of course, I'd be honored to have that conversation. But it's not something I could decide without knowing what my role would be and having that conversation with the Speaker.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time, Congressman Amash. It's good to see you.

AMASH: Thanks so much, Erin.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, denial. The Iranians are insisting that they did not shoot down that commercial plane with 176 people onboard. They're saying it was turning back to the airport. We're live in Tehran.

Plus, the clock ticking on Nancy Pelosi. Will she deliver the articles of impeachment by the end of the week?

And did a top Republican congressman cross the line when he said this about democrats?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): Nancy Pelosi does it again and her Democrats fall right in line. One, they're in love with terrorists, we see that ...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:16:42]

BURNETT: Tonight, Iran disputing U.S. evidence which indicates that it was Iran that shot down that Ukrainian commercial airliner, killing 176 innocent people onboard. Iran's head of aviation telling CNN the plane turned back towards the airport and questions 'how can a plane be hit by a rocket or missile' and then 'try to turn back'.

Fred Pleitgen is OUTFRONT from Tehran. Fred, what are Iranian officials saying tonight about the investigation as of course the British and the Canadians and the Americans are all saying that it was Iran.

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Certainly, a lot of countries are saying that you're absolutely right, the head of the investigative authority of the Civil Aviation Authority of Iran, Erin, he was saying he believes that if it would have been hit by a missile, it would have just fallen to the ground immediately.

Nevertheless, the Iranians are saying that they have launched a full scale investigation. There was actually a tweet that came out from the spokesman for Iran's Foreign Minister not too long ago. I want to read you parts of it.

He said, "Investigations of the cause of the Ukrainian plane crash have launched based on international standards & ICAO regulations. Ukraine and Boeing have been invited as the owner and manufacturer to take part of it."

Of course, we have now learned that the NTSB has been invited. It might send a representative.

"We appreciate any country who can provide info to the Committee in charge." That seems to indicate that the Iranians also willing to actually take U.S. information into account as well. They're obviously trying to say that they want to conduct this investigation as transparently as possible.

Now, Erin, we do have some information on the black boxes of the plane. We've been looking into this. And the Head of the Civil Aviation Authority here in Iran tells us that the Iranians have found the black boxes. They say one of those black boxes is damaged. They're not sure how badly it's damaged.

The Iranian say that in general they have the capability to read the data on the black boxes. They say they want to do that tomorrow morning together with Ukrainian investigators who are actually now on the ground here as well. However, the Iranian say they're not sure whether or not they actually

have the right technology, but to be able to read those black boxes if indeed they are badly damaged and so they might have to send them to either France or Canada, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Fred.

I want to go now to Peter Goelz. He is the former NTSB Managing Director. And Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, Assistant Secretary of State for Political and Military Affairs under the George W. Bush administration. I appreciate both of your time very much.

Peter, we hear now the NTSB may be involved. Look, I want to be direct up here, you said you were suspicious about this crash in the very beginning. It is seems from all of the intelligence that's coming in that you were right. What do you make of Iran's claim that plane would not have been able to turn back to the airport if it had been hit by a missile?

PETER GOELZ: Well, that's just foolishness. The radar track of the plane will tell at least part of the story. It will tell us exactly when the plane was hit or the catastrophic event occurred. And then it will show what happened after that.

The idea that a plane being hit by a missile would not be able to change its course or have its course changed by the impact of the missile is foolishness.

BURNETT: General, we looked up to see what was happening at the airport at this time. It's again four hours after the Iranians had sent those missiles to bases where American troops were housed in Iraq.

[19:20:05]

Twenty-seven other commercial planes were able to safely take off or land in Tehran between the time Iran strike on the U.S. bases and the Ukrainian flight being shot down. So we have 27 other planes and then this one takes off. There's a 22-minute or so gap between the plane before it and this plane. And then we have the video purporting to show the moment of impact from the Russian missile, at least, one of them. We understand there may have been two.

Explain to us how this likely happened, General. I mean, who could be pushing the trigger to launch these missiles and how could this have happened?

BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMITT (RET.), FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE UNDER PRESIDENT GW BUSH: Well, the person that push these buttons are very young men. They're out in these facilities. They probably have one or two people that are providing oversight. They probably have their weapons on weapons release, not weapons hold.

They look at their radar. They misidentify an airplane there. They're leaning forward and they're expecting an American counterattack and we've got simply human error if this is exactly what happened. BURNETT: Peter, what's your response to this, though? I mean, I

guess, I get confused in the sense of you look at a map and you see Tehran is -- you would think they would have plenty of time to see something coming in. They had seen 27 other planes coming in and out of the largest commercial airport in the country.

You have a plane going up, not down. You have a plane going slowly at commercial flights, a regularly scheduled flight. How could someone who had made this mistake four hours after the original strike?

GOELZ: Well, it's happened before and it's happened on a U.S. military vessel, misidentified an Iranian air airplane and shot it down. As the General said, it's the fog of war. I'm sure tensions were high. People were concerned. They were worried. They were expecting something else. It's a tragedy.

BURNETT: So General, we have pictures of the crash site. We don't totally understand what's happening there. We do understand that there may be NTSB or Boeing able to go there at this point though that has not happened. So this is pictures that are coming out of there that we're able to see, not like the Ukraine situation where we were able to -- a lot of international journalists were on the crash site, that is not the case here.

You can see a large piece of the side of the plane though intact when you look at that nine holes were there were windows. How important is this going to be this crash site given that we have no idea what really Iran has been doing to it since the crash?

KIMMITT: Well, I'll defer to my colleague from the NTSB to determine what's going on in the crash site. What I would do if the Iranians are being totally transparent, let's do an inventory of their missiles. It seems to me that if they didn't shoot these missiles, then all of the missiles should be accounted for and if they're missing two, that's a pretty high indication that this went somewhere.

BURNETT: Which it's a sort of nod your heads, OK, that's obvious. But yes, that's exactly, they have not done that, they haven't shown any indication of that sort of transparency to your point, General.

Peter, what do you think when you see the crash site?

GOELZ: Well, there's two things. One is you cannot describe or you cannot cover up a missile impact. We learned that after MH17. We've studied it after the TWA crash.

The impact of a missile leaves very distinct signatures. TWA, they were none. On MH17, it was clear that it was hit. The Iranians are not going to be able to cover this up. The wreckage combined with the radar track, combined with the data recorders will tell the story.

BURNETT: General, before we go, what does this say about the Iranian military that they could have done this?

KIMMITT: No, I don't think it says anything about the Iranian military. I think it says a lot about all militaries, which is no matter how much technology you have, no matter how much artificial intelligence you have, no matter how many gizmos you have, anytime you've got a human in the loop, they're going to be mistakes.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.

Next, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi preparing to hand over the articles of impeachment to the Senate. But what did she gain by holding out for so long?

And a top Republican makes a ridiculous accusation saying that Democrats love terrorists. So how does he explain this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, look, Soleimani is a terrorist.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): No one should shed a tear over his death.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:28:33]

BURNETT: New tonight, Speaker Nancy Pelosi expected to deliver impeachment articles to the Senate very soon at any point. Setting up a trial as quickly as next week. One source telling CNN this literally could all happen in the next 24 hours.

Manu Raju is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill. And Manu, what are you hearing tonight?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's still uncertain. Behind closed doors, I'm told Nancy Pelosi met with members of her leadership team, also met with a key chairman who are investigating the President. And in neither of those meetings that she tipped her hand about exactly when she will deliver those articles of impeachment.

She only said publicly that would happen 'soon'. What soon means is still uncertain here in Washington. And I asked her if she's concerned at all that it's going to undercut her message that the President is a clear and present danger to the U.S. democracy, and that the delay could undercut that in any way.

She said she's not concerned because she wants to move forward strategically and smartly in her words. And the question is, what will be the next step. She has demanded that Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader of the Senate, actually unveiling, detail the rules and procedures of how the trial will play out.

But I asked Mitch McConnell just earlier this evening whether or not he would do what she's asking for and release that resolution that would have to be approved by the Senate in order for her to send over the articles of impeachment and he said, quote, "No, we aren't going to do that." He does not want to, in his words, haggle with the House. He says she

simply needs to turn over those articles of impeachment. And Republicans are contempt because they're seeing some Democratic impatience growing in the ranks.

[19:30:01]

Including one freshman Democrat who voted to impeach the President, Ben McAdams, who told me earlier today that it's time to send over those articles of impeachment to the House.

So, the Republicans are sitting back hoping the pressure grows on Nancy Pelosi that she'll ultimately send over those articles. But she is frustrated about the process that Mitch McConnell is detailing in the Senate, how he's not agreeing to have witnesses up front, to having documents up front. And so, she's still trying to hope as something can change the dynamic.

But at the moment, we do expect those articles to be sent and the trial could still take place, Erin, as soon as next week.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right. Manu, thank you very much.

I want to go OUTFRONT now to Joe Lockhart, a political commentator and the former Clinton White House press secretary, and Gloria Borger, our chief political analyst.

So, Joe, look, we expect the articles very soon, OK? So, whenever that is, 24 hours from now, two hours from now, whenever it may be, they get formally walked over and handed to Mitch McConnell, and then what happens?

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, then, presumably, on Monday, Mitch McConnell will take it to the floor. He'll have to get 51 votes to pass the resolution to run the rules the way he wants to do it. He's calling it the Clinton model. You know, we can argue about that.

But there's two phases. One is the House impeachment managers will make their case. The White House will present their defense. In 1999, that each took about three days. And then the senators get to ask questions. Remember they don't get to stand on the floor and ask the question in a TV moment.

They have to put it in writing and go up. The Senate will stay in session for Monday through Saturday based on Senate rules. It'll be roughly 6 1/2, 7 hours. It won't go late into the night. These are very prescribed rules.

But you'll probably see, presuming this starts early next week, within about by the middle of the next week, you'll see the crucial moment of the debate. Excuse me, of the trial. Which is someone will move. Maybe Lindsey Graham will motion to dismiss it and be done with it. And someone will move from the Democratic side, I presume, to call witnesses.

BURNETT: So, the witnesses don't come in until you've done the six or seven, eight days of back report.

LOCKHART: Right. Then they will haggle. They will haggle between the opening of the trial behind closed doors until they get to the vote on the basis of whether there will be witnesses or not.

BURNETT: I mean, Gloria, that's a pretty incredible thing. I think a lot of people expected there's votes and we're going to vote on witnesses right up front if McConnell hadn't caved before which he's not going to. But this is going to be an ongoing battle.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it's epic between Nancy Pelosi who knows the rules, who understands the Congress, and who understands Democrats, and Mitch McConnell who is wily and understands Republicans and is trying to behind the scenes convince Donald Trump what would work best for him, right?

And our reporting is that what would work best for Donald Trump is not to bring over the managers from the House who can be a little hot headed and that wouldn't sit well --

BURNETT: Like Jim Jordan and people like that.

BORGER: Yes, right, I mean, exactly. I don't know if McConnell will use that word. But that telling the president, look, this isn't about television. This is about the people sitting in that chamber who will make this decision.

So don't worry about playing to the outside audience. You have to learn to play to the inside audience. And that's something that Donald Trump doesn't understand intuitively at all.

BURNETT: So, you know, here's the thing, Joe, people close to Mitch McConnell say at this point Republicans are not going to vote right up front. Witnesses are not part of the deal to begin with. We would see what would happen once you're a week or so in. Lisa Murkowski, moderate Republicans, she's one of the people they would need to vote for witnesses.

She said today it was, quote, frustrating that the articles haven't been delivered. Now, look, we wouldn't even know John Bolton was willing to testify if it weren't for Nancy Pelosi holding the articles. That is true.

Is it true that the Democrats could have done damage to themselves with people like Murkowski by waiting so long?

LOCKHART: I don't think so. In fact they've only been back a week. And, you know, as we've talked about, Pelosi had an amazingly weak hand she played to maximum advantage. She has brought focus on this trial as not will we be hearing the same thing over and over again about what the president did from the same voices and depositions. She's made this about will John Bolton testify and will Mick Mulvaney testify? And that's a victory for her.

The squirmishing Democrats were never going to get the votes for Schumer's plan at the outset. Their game is to have the White House come in -- and remember, up until now, the main defense of the White House is there's no first hand corroboration that the president was involved in any of this. And all the Democrats have to do is continually raise their hand and say, well, let's get that first-hand corroboration.

[19:35:03]

BURNETT: Right, right. And, Gloria, the president today was asked whether he would allow John Bolton to testify. His words were I have no problem except we have to protect executive privilege. That's an argument many lawyers say doesn't exist for John Bolton. That executive privilege would simply not apply in his case.

BORGER: That's right. John Bolton has said, I want to do this. Now, you could argue if he wanted to do it, he could go on your show tonight and tell the world what he knows.

BURNETT: Right.

BORGER: The president has always said I would have had no trouble testifying before Bob Mueller. I wanted to testify before Bob Mueller. I would like people to testify, but you have to worry about privilege.

He waived privilege with all those people who went and testified before Bob Mueller, and that didn't work out so well for him. So, now he has changed and he has been stonewalling, as you know, in this Ukraine investigation. I believe that the president is hopeful, is hopeful, that if Bolton does testify, he'll be good to him. He may say he disagrees with him on policy but that the president did absolutely nothing wrong.

We do not know the answer to that. But do I believe he really wants witnesses? He'll say it. But he'll listen to the lawyers who don't.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both.

I should say Trump is on twitter tonight referring to Bolton's analysis on the War Powers vote a smart analysis.

BORGER: Exactly.

BURNETT: You know, doing everything he can to be nice to John Bolton.

All right. Next, the president catching many off guard when he said this about killing Iran's top general.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Ah, what was he talking about? That was completely new and no one had heard it before. And guess what, we now have the information on exactly what that is. And did a top Republican cross the line when he said this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): Nancy Pelosi does it again and her Democrats fall right in line. One, they're in love with terrorists. We see that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:40:53]

BURNETT: Breaking news, President Trump in a rally in Ohio. Just moments ago, he said this about Iran's top general.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Soleimani was actively planning new attacks, and he was looking very seriously at our embassies and not just the embassy in Baghdad. But we stopped him, and we stopped him quickly and we stopped him cold.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: The president doubling down after he surprised everyone when he said this earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We caught a total monster. And we took him out. And that should have happened a long time ago. We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy. We also did it for other reasons that were very obvious.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT. She's at the White House.

Kaitlan, OK, so, embassies tonight, embassy earlier today. All of it was new information.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the president seems to be revealing a lot today. And it caught everyone's attention when the president seemed to say that kind of offhandedly earlier today when he was speaking with reporters here at the White House.

But we have gotten more clarification on what the president said then from a senior defense who did confirm that, yes, General Soleimani was planning multiple attacks, multiple plots, and one of those included an attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad that they said did involve explosives. Now, they said that was just one of many plots that Soleimani was planning out, strategizing on. They didn't give a lot of details on what the plots included citing

security information saying it was sensitive information. So, it is notable that the president on stage at the first rally of the year in Ohio says it was not just singular, embassy, which is what he said at the White House earlier today. He is saying it was multiple embassies there were plots on.

Now, of course, this is notable not only for the reason that the president and the administration have been saying is behind the reason to authorize that strike but also because of what you're hearing from lawmakers who are being briefed on Capitol Hill yesterday. And you heard a lot of people, some frequent critics of the president, and some not, some usual allies of the president, criticizing the administration for not giving them essentially enough intelligence on this or not revealing what they knew about this and what led them to make that decision.

Now, Erin, a lot of these lawmakers said they didn't want to know everything, but they do have security clearances, they wanted to know more than they did and they weren't left feeling satisfied.

So, it will be interesting to see how these lawmakers do respond to seeing the president seemed to reveal a little bit more information than what we knew previously about what these attacks were that were being plotted out.

BURNETT: And, of course, revealing a lot of information and although nothing about the imminent nature or lack thereof of said plans.

COLLINS: Yes.

BURNETT: OK. Thank you very much, Kaitlan.

And next, a Republican making an unfounded claim about Democrats -- I guess we can put it that way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Nancy Pelosi does it again and her Democrats fall right in line. One, they're in love with terrorists. We see that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And the queen is not happy. Why did Prince Harry defy her and announce a split from the royal family?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:48:06]

BURNETT: Breaking news, the president just moments ago in a rally in Ohio appearing to give new information about why the United States chose to launch a strike against Iran's top general.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Soleimani was actively planning new attacks, and he was looking very seriously at our embassies and not just the embassy in Baghdad. But we stopped him, and we stopped him quickly, and he stopped him cold.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And this comes after earlier today the president said that Soleimani had been planning an attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, only talking about the one embassy, using explosives.

OUTFRONT now, Republican Congressman Mike Turner of Ohio who sits on both the Intelligence and Armed Services Committees.

Congressman, good to have you with me.

REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH): Erin, good to see you.

BURNETT: So, is this news to you that there were attacks planned on embassies or earlier today, he said specifically the embassy in Baghdad?

TURNER: Well, as you know, I serve on the Intelligence Committee, and I can't confirm or deny the information we received. I received an extensive briefing on what information that the president had reviewed, what the intelligence community had put together about what threats we were facing from Soleimani and what they were planning.

I can tell you it was incredibly extensive. There was no one on the Intelligence Committee upon the presentation that was not deeply impressed with the threat both to our men and women in uniform and our men and women who are serving.

The president has the luxury to being able to declassify information as he goes, so he'll decide what to reveal and when he reveals it. But I think it was very clear.

So, if you look at what's been happening with Iran, both before this administration exited the JCPOA and after, their malign activities throughout the region have been increasing, have been more destabilizing. Their support for the terrorist organization, Hezbollah, Hamas, what's happening in Yemen throughout the area, and their attack directly on Saudi Arabia has certainly placed I think the entire area in a significant amount of disarray.

[19:50:12]

And the president taking this response, obviously to turn that corner, try to have that impact and have some deterrence effect on Iran's actions in the future.

BURNETT: I just want to be clear though, because you're being very precise, as you always are and you're not revealing classified information, which means that while he has the ability to do so, the president of the United States is doing at a rally, correct?

TURNER: Well, I mean, that's what you reported. I don't know in what other manner he has made those statements. But it is within his purview to determine what remains classified and what does not remain classified.

BURNETT: Yes.

TURNER: I can tell you that there are different levels of briefings that happen on Capitol Hill, the Big Eight, which you reported before --

BURNETT: Right.

TURNER: -- which are the chairmen and ranking members, and, then, of course, the Intelligence Committee gets a briefing and then there's the full congressional group that gets a briefing. I know, on the Senate side, there were some dissatisfied with what they received --

BURNETT: To say the least for sure, right?

TURNER: On the House side, the briefing was full and complete. On the Intelligence Committee, I can tell you that there was in-depth reporting and in-depth information. The Intelligence Committee was very confident of the information they had and the rising threat to the United States and Soleimanis' direct actions.

BURNETT: Do you think there's any possible negative or risk that comes from him revealing information that obviously is classified about these embassy planned attacks? Do you think in any way that it is inappropriate for him doing so?

TURNER: I don't really have a concern. Even on your network we've seen the video of the prior attack that's happened on the Baghdad embassy. We all watched the flames and smoke boiling out of the embassy in Baghdad as a result of the attack that occurred there.

So, I don't think reporting or even speculating on what Iran has been threatened -- I mean, you know, Iran itself continues to have even its entire parliament chant "death to America". It's not as if it's a surprise --

BURNETT: Yes.

TURNER: -- that Iran has been coordinating and targeting American interests throughout the Middle East.

BURNETT: Well, I will say -- I will say, I was in Tehran when they were chanting "death to America" once. I was at a rally, the people hadn't been any friendlier to me personally as an American. It sort of felt like a thing and a trope as opposed to anything that actually meant and considered. I understand your point but my experience was different.

TURNER: Erin, your entire life, Iran -- pretty much your entire life, just by a few years, has chanted death to America and they have taken actions against Americans and American interests and in ways that are lethal killings of Americans, given weaponry to people who do kill Americans.

So, it's not just a slogan. This obviously is something that Iran has systematically continued to do, it's part of their --

BURNETT: Yes.

TURNER: -- seeking weapons of mass destruction and their claim to want to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. These are real threats from the leadership of Iran, even though and I'm glad you had a safe and warm response, the people on the street may be different than those who are controlling their military.

BURNETT: And that is true.

TURNER: And the ones who are controlling their military mean it.

BURNETT: And on that point, you along with your Republican colleagues and Democratic colleagues said that General Soleimani was doing horrible things.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, there's no question Soleimani was a vicious terrorist. Chuck Schumer, no one should shed a tear over his death. Pelosi, no illusions about Soleimani. He was a terrible person who did bad things. Menendez, Soleimani was a terrorist.

Those are your Democratic colleagues in the House and Senate.

Your Republican colleague, Doug Collins, top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, though, said this about Nancy Pelosi and her decision to hold a vote today on the president's right to strike Soleimani.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Nancy Pelosi does it again and her Democrats fall right in line. One, they're in love with terrorists. We see that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Would you have ever said that?

TURNER: Well, what I would say is -- thank you for couching it in that way, Erin, that's very polite in your raising the issue, is -- what I would say is that I think there have been some irresponsible statements on the Democrat side. Jackie Speier was just on your network, just several hours ago, claiming that Donald Trump would be responsible if the Iranians had with -- their military rockets downed their own the departing Ukrainian civilian aircraft.

So, I think there are irresponsible things. I think the resolution today was misplaced. We could have done a resolution that calls for Iran to become a peaceful, active force in the Middle East. Instead we took a resolution to try to restrict --

BURNETT: Right, but you have an issue with Democrat comments, but what about Collins' comments?

TURNER: I believe that Doug Collins needs to obviously respond to you as to your criticism of his comments. We see troubling comments on the Democrat side that I think really have caused people to pause and say, you know, are we all on the same team here, understanding that Iran is a threat to our country, the United States, and our men and women in the uniform.

BURNETT: All right. Well, hopefully, everyone can agree calling Democrats terrorists from the other side or loving terrorists is not productive.

[19:55:02]

Thanks very much. I appreciate your time as always, Congressman.

TURNER: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, Prince Harry and Megan Markle stepping back from the royal family but they apparently still plan to use their titles and family to make money.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight, the queen is not happy.

Max Foster is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Theirs is a life governed by royal protocol, but with this week's bombshell announcement, Prince Harry and wife Meghan maybe it clear they want to set their own rules.

The couple defied the queen when they issued a statement on Wednesday saying they would pull back from their duties as senior oils royals. CNN understands she had asked him not to speak out.

The palace at first blindsided today swung into action. Officials acting for the queen, the prince of Wales and the duke of Cambridge are holding crisis talks about what to do, a source telling CNN they wanted, quote, workable solutions within days.

But the decision by Prince Harry and Meghan, the duke and duchess of Sussex, raises more questions than answers. They make no mention of giving up their royal titles, but they want to become financially independent. They say they'll continue to do work for the monarchy and support their patronages. But they want to become financially independent.

They say they'll give up money from the sovereign grant, money from the British government, and try to earn their own income as many minor members of the family do.

One potential and significant source of income, the royal brand. They've applied for a trademark for "Sussex Royal", which if approved, they could stamp on scores of items and services from books and clothing, to education materials and social care.

But there's a risk, being accused of monetizing the very monarchy from which they're trying to distance themselves.

And critics of the couple point out their security will still be funded by the taxpayer.

They also hope to keep their official residence, Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.

VICTORIA MURPHY, ROYAL COMMENTATOR: Will people accept the premise that they are appearing on the world stage as working royals and then also going off and acting autonomously, taking a private income with a private venture?

FOSTER: If the family can't agree on a new role for the couple going forward, the Sussexes may be forced to consider resigning their royal roles altogether.

Max Foster, CNN, Buckingham Palace, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: To be continued.

And thanks for joining us.

Anderson starts now.

END